Ratline definitions

răt'lĭn
Any of the small ropes fastened horizontally to the shrouds of a ship and forming a ladder for going aloft.
noun
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The material used for these ropes.
noun
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Any of the small, relatively thin pieces of tarred rope which join the shrouds of a ship and serve as the steps of a ladder for climbing the rigging.
noun
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(nautical) Any of the cross ropes between the shrouds, which form a net like ropework, allowing sailors to climb up towards the top of the mast.

Quotations.

noun
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Origin of ratline

Middle English rathelinge (line) wattling, ratline (cord)